The Chairman of the Inter-American Coffee Board (Cale) to the Acting Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary: As you know, the Inter-American Coffee Board addressed a request to the Office of Price Administration last November for an increase in United States coffee price ceilings. It was decided by the United States Government that granting the request at that time would seriously prejudice maintenance of the stabilization program and the request was denied.
Almost a year has now passed since this request was made. During this year the war has come to a victorious close in both Europe and [Page 363] Asia and the United States Government is at present relaxing wartime controls at a very rapid rate. The Board believes that the coffee price matter should now be reopened and has authorized me to write to you requesting that you intervene in its behalf with the appropriate United States authorities with a view to obtaining favorable action on coffee price ceilings at the earliest possible moment.
In making this request the Board believes it unnecessary to accompany it with a detailed statement of the reasons why it considers such action justified. Those reasons have already been presented to the responsible agencies of the United States Government by this Board and by various Inter-American conferences that have considered the problem and urged relief for the coffee producing countries. The coffee producers are in a precarious situation as the result of rising production costs in the face of price ceilings for coffee that have been rigidly maintained since they were established in 1941.
This Board believes that the statistical situation with respect to coffee is such that no long-sustained rise in coffee prices would occur if the coffee price ceilings were abolished altogether and no further action were taken to control them. I am authorized to state, however, that the Board would be glad to undertake to facilitate the consummation of arrangements by the principal coffee-producing countries which it is believed would stabilize coffee prices at reasonable levels in the event the United States authorities are prepared to remove coffee from price control.
As you are aware, if it had not been for measures taken by the Governments of these countries to supply coffee to the Armed Forces and the civilian population of the United States, notwithstanding the adverse action on the Board’s previous request, coffee imports into the United States would not have reached the record levels which will be attained in the twelve months period that will end on September 30. The Board is convinced, however, that further measures by such governments under present conditions are neither practicable nor desirable and urges that prompt action be taken to remove the present ceilings in the interest of the coffee producers, the coffee trade and the consuming public.